This isn’t the first (nor will it be the last) time I talk about a need for patience and grace when it comes to my son. I love him; I love him so much I can’t even put it into words.
He is precious; he’s sweet; he’s amazing; he teaches me something new every day; he brings the biggest smile to my face about a hundred times a day; he’s curious; he’s independent; he’s magical. I honestly cannot imagine life without him.
But you know what, he’s also stubborn, cranky, fussy, loud, rambunctious, downright mean, disobedient and so, so, so obstinate.
That’s the reality of kids I suppose. Who am I kidding, that’s the reality of relationships with everyone — friends, parents, partners, co-workers — there’s a lot of beautiful but with it comes some painful and ugly too.
But when I have mornings like this one when nearly every moment I’m having to “take a deep breath and count to four” (thanks Daniel Tiger for the anger management technique) because I feel “so mad I want to roar” (yell really), it’s harder to see the sweet, loving, amazing kid and not focus on the cranky, fussy one I spent the last two hours with.
“I want Cubby’s coconut cereal!”
Seriously kid, what is Cubby’s coconut cereal? Obviously you’ve been watching too much “Jake and the Neverland Pirates.” I tried about everything we had in the kitchen (including cereal where I sprinkled coconut on top) and NOTHING satisfied this crazy, for real the kid was dead-set on Cubby’s coconut cereal, demand.
“I don’t want to wear clothes!”
Mmmm … well you have to. Am I being unreasonable? You can’t go to school, heck you can’t go anywhere, without clothes. Please, put them on. I don’t care what you wear; you just have to wear something. (He decided on pulling his fish socks ALL the way up to his knees, insisting, “They have to be bigger!”
“Daddy, you need to say you’re sorry!”
This was said with tears, desperate tears to be exact. Our morning routine is for Miles to go upstairs and wake his daddy up just before he goes to school. Miles crawled into bed with Michael and in his typical crazy, hyper fashion was playfully beating on Michael to get him up. Michael rolled away from Miles and accidentally (i.e. barely) elbowed his stomach, and Miles collapsed into tears.
“I need my rescue. I need it; I need it now!”
This, this was repeated at the highest volume possible for several minutes. His rescue is a particular train that happened to be in the basement. And this was in those last few “we’re running late for school” minutes of trying to get everyone out the door.
Some weeks we just have glimpses of that mean kiddo that kicks the furniture and then throws himself to the floor slamming his fists on the ground with a TV-style tantrum that I seriously didn’t think happened in real life until recently. And then other weeks I feel like the good night snuggles and “I love you Mommy!”s are few and far between.
Like everything, there are seasons. But during this season when this mama is dealing with a not-so-easy pregnancy the ability to stay cool, calm and collected during these major meltdowns and downright mean Miles moments is getting harder to come by. I don’t like to label parenting techniques/methods/styles or whatever you want to call it because we all are really doing the best we can for our family. But if I had to try to describe it, or put a name to it, the “peaceful parenting” method is closely what Michael and I follow when it comes to discipline with Miles.
We do our very, very best not to yell. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen because unfortunately it does. And our tone and volume of voice certainly changes as the situation changes. We also don’t use any kind of physical forms of discipline (hitting, spanking, etc.) When Miles was little redirection was the No. 1 method we used to try to change/correct misbehavior. These days we direct Miles to his bedroom for a timeout (or some other area if we are out of the house) where he can stay until he can calm down and apologize for the misbehavior.
But back to mornings such as today where from the moment he woke up he was screaming, crying or whining all the way to school I really, really, really have to work hard to find that peace that is coming harder and harder to come by deep down to practice our peaceful parenting.
So, here I am, nearly two hours after dropping the kiddo off at school still twitching a little. (OK, that is a bit of an exaggeration, but seriously, this stuff is exhausting.) And searching my dwindling reserves of patience and tolerance. But I’m reminding myself of the moments last night where he snuggled up in my arms and we rocked for a few minutes before he ran off in a bundle of energy.
Ah ha, that’s where I’ll find it. When I feel like I’ve got nothing left — no more energy, no more patience, no more grace — I’ll turn back to those catalog’s of the lovely, amazing, magical memories of my baby bear and I’ll get refreshed.
What’s your renewal strategy?